Woodbine Station – Speed Kills EP

Woodbine Station
Speed Kills EP

There’s a whole brand of band that developed only in the last few years, well after emo saw its revival in the late 90s and quite likely after emo became a dreaded word that many bands avoided like the plague. Taking those emo bands – The Promise Ring, The Get Up Kids, Jimmy Eat World, Sunny Day Real Estate – as their influences isn’t a bad thing; it was bound to happen anyway. As long as the follow-up bands avoid sounding exactly like their predecessors, we can forgive them their obvious influences, right?
Denver’s Woodbine Station is clearly one of these bands, and their music evokes images of Four Minute Mile-era Get Up Kids as well as today’s Jimmy Eat World. It’s that blend of styles that works for them, yet I doubt many indie reviewers will listen to this without throwing out the “e” word. It’s not an insult, in my book. These kids embrace the emo ideal, even to the cover art featuring a moving car and shots of the ocean. Upbeat, rocking, and hearts-on-their-sleeve pure, it’s a fine debut, if a tad unoriginal.
The band puts their best foot forward to open on “November,” which starts with such fantastic melodic guitar, it evokes the first time I heard the Promise Ring so many years ago. The song itself turns out to be a good if not spectacular rocker, while the guitar clearly shines the brightest. And with music this undeniably emo in nature, you can’t fault the band even for lyrics like “I want to make love with you in the first snow of the season.” “Point Bonita” turns out to be a better song all around, with more bass, more chugging guitars, and the feel of early Jimmy Eat World.
“Empty Vessel” will please the more poppy-punk fans, but again the guitarist saves the song from becoming tired with some fantastic work that verges on a short guitar solo. And the vocals take that decidedly off-kilter emo whine, even as they turn “The Mystery Spot” into the most emotional-sounding track on the album. “Drive” brings to mind the more accessible Sunny Day Real Estate and Mineral, while “Endwise” closes with the album’s more mellow, laid-back track, a nice finish.
This isn’t a bad review. Woodbine Station are quite good. I like this EP, although it doesn’t stick with me. I feel like I’ve heard it before. It’s a trap a lot of new bands fall into: sounding too much like their idols and influences. By the next release, this band will be even better, and then everyone will want to own this one.